Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Selfbows, Longbows, Recurves, Hybrids

Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:17 pm

Okay, so no good hunting story here this time. I thought I would write something that you could learn from, as I have, and try yourself or merely pass it along. So, let us go through the process, from raw shaft to a shooting finish, on building POC arrows. :archer2:

The first thing I do when I receive my order is grab the bare shafts and roll them on the flat counter top. Here I look for wobbles and bends in the shaft. I promise you will have a few per dozen that will need to be straightened if not more. So I cull them into two groups; eyeball straight and not-so straight, and then head for my workbench where I use my Arizona Archery Straighter that can dial these babies down to within .005”. Some take a little longer and require more finesse and others straighten rather quickly and hold. Problem shafts I may work a few times until happy (my methodical side). Once I am happy with the shafts I move on in the process.
photo 5.JPG
shafts ready

Now it is time to really start having fun and deciding if you want to stain, paint a crown, stain a crown, elaborate or simple cresting, what feathers, etc.. I will go through my process of a stained shaft with a crown dip and cresting with traditional barred feathers. So here we go, I use a Minwax stain and clean shop rag and just apply the stain. Tried a foam brush but got bubble, no good, went back the rag. I typically only do one coat of stain but more could be applied for your desired results.
photo 1.JPG
stained..looks purple but its blue

I then let the stain dry overnight or 24 hours. I just want to make sure it is good and dry. After drying I use a clean rag and wipe any excess stain there might be on the shaft and set it aside and go the next shaft, repeat. After all the shafts are stained and wiped down to remove excess I dip them in Minwax water-based poly (Wal-Mart, Ace hardware) by holding one end with the tip on my finger (remember this) and pushing it down in my dip tube. I remove promptly and let any excess run off back into the tube or until I am tired of holding it up. Then I carefully clip/hang the arrow from the end I held with my finger tips The poly will look milky at first but will slowly work down the shaft (dripping) and will be clear in an hour or so (depends on working temp).
photo 2.JPG
first coat of poly

Now after a couple of hours it should be dry to touch and I inspect, yep, good to move on, so I grab some OOOO steel wool and lightly work the new finish.
photo 1-1.JPG
0000 steel wool

This is the first coat so it is thin. It will get better. After working a little with the steel wool I wipe the shaft clean and dip again. This time (remember) I hold from the opposite end and the reason I do is so the poly will be distributed evenly on the shaft as it dries. If you hang the same end up each time you will have a thicker coat of seal on one end over the other for this reason I alternate. After an overnight of drying I repeat with the steel wool and wipe down process but hold off on dipping again.

It is time to paint the crown(did not do with this set of arrows. used stain). For the crown I have a small dip tube and use Bohning paint. I have also used Krylon spray paint but have had mixed results with paint build up due to over spray. So before I dip my crown I measure my shafts and mask off with the blue painters tape. Then I go ahead a taper my nock end so I do not scar the crown later when I taper (learned the hard way :oops: ) or have bare wood between nock and crown showing. Just like that poly I dip and hang and give plenty of drying time. Once the paint is dry I remove the tape and set aside. If you get a let uneven line do not worry you can crest over to cover this error later.

Next we are ready to crest so I layout a template on paper and then use it as a guide on my cresting jig. For this I will use and have only used Testors model paint from the hobby store. I start by painting all my wide bars of crest and then follow-up with my pinstripe/hairline cresting lines. It is a good idea to give the bars a chance to dry before starting the small pinstripes. If not, your paint could run and give you undesirable results. When using colors like gold and silver you will also want to give more drying time. There is something about those colors that could run when the next coat of poly is applied. I usually wait overnight.
photo 2-3.JPG
cresting guide on SpinRite

After cresting is dried it is time to dip again. I do not steel wool the cresting after painting and I also will glue my nock before dipping so I can use it to hold the arrow. Remember to align your nock proper to the grain. So now I dip the entire shaft. This should be the third/fourth coat and some will stop here. I like a deep finish so I go ahead and steel wool the entire shaft and dip again. Once dry I am finished with the shafting and it is time to move on.
photo 4-2.JPG
cresting done...last poly dip

Now we can do one of two things; cut the shaft to length and glue on tips or fletch. I usually flecth first because I am so excited to see what the finished arrow will look like. I use a Jo-Jan multi fletch fletcher and work six arrows at a time by gluing them with Flecth-Tite Platinum and I make sure I toe and heel the feathers after they have been glued. What I mean is I drop a dab of glue on both the front and back of the feather.
photo 1-2.JPG
fletching jig

And once I am finished fletching, I measure from the nock grove to where I want my back of pointand point taper the arrow. Next is gluing on the point (field tip or broadhead) using a small propane torch and Ferr-L-Tite hot melt glue. I melt some glue onto the shaft then get my point hot, wearing a leather glove, and the then push it onto the shaft using the heat from the point to re-melt/heat the glue. I tune the point and set aside. That’s it!
photo 3-2.JPG
done!

Let's GO shoot!!
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:22 pm

Few more I have done.
photo7.JPG

photo8.JPG

photo9.JPG

photo.JPG
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Dingus » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:05 pm

Outstanding! Thank you sir!

:applaud:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby campcook » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:44 pm

Those pretty arrows would mess up my hunting time because if I missed with one of them I wouldn't quit hunting for it.Alex :rolf:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby full tiller » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:03 pm

:twisted: Those are good looking shafts boss... but I wonder if you wouldn't mind going over the straightening process some time please. I know I for one would love some education in that arena.

Tuning the point would be good to see too if you are so inclined. I know seasons are opening all over the place so if you decide to do the items requested I understand if it'll take some time. I got nothin' going and want to learn as much as people are willing to teach so...
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby HalfDraw » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:29 pm

campcook wrote:Those pretty arrows would mess up my hunting time because if I missed with one of them I wouldn't quit hunting for it.Alex :rolf:


That why you be like me Alex and never miss :rolf: :rolf:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby KsBow » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:43 pm

BB, you do make a beautiful arrow. Nicely done my man. :applaud:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby stillwaterselfbows » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Very nice B! we need to do some trading - I can do horn nocks.......
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby FullDraw » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:17 am

Very good tutorial and beautiful arrows. I especially like the Cowboy arrows!
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby KsBow » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:25 am

No Gary, cowboys had guns, Indians had arrows! :rolf:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby stickandlimb » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:22 am

How do you aline the nock to the grain..........with it or 90 degree from it ?
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby campcook » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:15 pm

90 degrees to it. Alex
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Greywolf » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:34 pm

On the first Poly coat picture from right side to left the dip tubes? Right side Yellow crown dip? Center is White crown dip, left side is clear dip?

I see you have ACE Poly-Finish in Gloss, do you have 2 dip tubes of clear so if the residue comes off it won't mess up the total clear Finish?

Give a little more detail about the crown dip and the how and why's to do it in that order....Please.


Also... I knew there was something else... Do you have a full shaft picture of the tops set, the dark red ones with brown Feathers?
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Winter Hawk » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:16 pm

A question which has been lurking in the vast recesses of my mind for years now: once the arrow has been straightened, what keeps it from taking a curve again? The seal of the finish? I have had enough wood projects where humidity caused the wood to twist that I would be afraid the same would happen to arrows.

Beautiful work, by the way. Something I am going to have to try myself soon!

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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Greywolf » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:46 pm

Short answer is the guy pulling the arrows..Blame him..:eek: :rolf: The way I straighten mine is by compression of the fibers and grain in the wood. From start to finish of the shaft to arrow I might have to straighten them 3-4 times during different stages.

But if you look at the Archers Paradox video, I really really don't think it makes a hill of beans, AND the spin of the arrow will help make it fly close to where it's suppose to hit. at some point in time of flight, the arrow will be straight again.
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:33 am

Greywolf wrote:On the first Poly coat picture from right side to left the dip tubes? Right side Yellow crown dip? Center is White crown dip, left side is clear dip?

I see you have ACE Poly-Finish in Gloss, do you have 2 dip tubes of clear so if the residue comes off it won't mess up the total clear Finish?

Give a little more detail about the crown dip and the how and why's to do it in that order....Please.


Also... I knew there was something else... Do you have a full shaft picture of the tops set, the dark red ones with brown Feathers?


Correct on dip tubes. small dipper are white crown and yellow. Long dipper is clear poly. I just use the one large dipper. I'm very sloooow making(take a lot of time) and wipe my arrows for excessive stain residue once or twice. there was a time or two that a little ran into dip tube but not enough to excite me.

Don't have a full length pic of the dark red with brown feathers. Okie is the proud owner of those. Maybe he will shoot us a pic of them. ;)
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:41 am

Winter Hawk wrote:A question which has been lurking in the vast recesses of my mind for years now: once the arrow has been straightened, what keeps it from taking a curve again? The seal of the finish? I have had enough wood projects where humidity caused the wood to twist that I would be afraid the same would happen to arrows.

Beautiful work, by the way. Something I am going to have to try myself soon!

-Kees-


The poly keeps the 'curve' out for the most part. I have some that are 4 or 5 years old that are still as straight as they can be; however, seems like one or two per dozen are stubborn and need a little tweaking over time. Never had any major issues (or anything that made me blame the arrow). Obviously moisture is the villain here. I worry about my feathers getting wet before I ever worry about the shafts. I think chronic warping or 'curving' comes with cheaper shafting with poor grain runs.
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Greywolf » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:19 pm

Well, there goes my excuse for a miss...Thanks ole buddy !!!! :eek: :rolf:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:25 pm

Almost done with tapered cedars for myself.
image.jpg
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Dingus » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:20 am

Bryan: You use Fletch-Tite Platinum. I read somewhere that some guys experienced problems with the Fletch-Tite going on a polyurethane finish. They suggested using Duco cement. Have you ever had any issues with the Fletch-Tite and have you ever used Duco?
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:23 am

Dingus wrote:Bryan: You use Fletch-Tite Platinum. I read somewhere that some guys experienced problems with the Fletch-Tite going on a polyurethane finish. They suggested using Duco cement. Have you ever had any issues with the Fletch-Tite and have you ever used Duco?


Never had an issue with the Platinum! Arrows that are years old still flying. I use WATER-based poly too. Other poly could be an issue. I do use Duco for the nocks. Too runny for me to fletch.
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:56 am

Tapered POCs ready for Elk hunt! Went with a bolder Bohning Orange this time and I think they look great with the yellow stained crown.
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby stickandlimb » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:02 pm

Where do you get the dunk tubes at ?
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:12 pm

stickandlimb wrote:Where do you get the dunk tubes at ?


right here... http://www.3riversarchery.com/Big+%26+Little+Dipper_i5110X_baseitem.html
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby stickandlimb » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:43 pm

How far down the shaft do you go with the first stain .......Im about ready to do a dozen and dont know if there is a measurement for the stain and where the cresting goes ? :oops:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:54 pm

stickandlimb wrote:How far down the shaft do you go with the first stain .......Im about ready to do a dozen and dont know if there is a measurement for the stain and where the cresting goes ? :oops:


It is whatever you like. :D I like a 10-12" crown..sometimes less. Once that is determined you can tape off and do the lower section. that answer you?
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby Greywolf » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:24 pm

Some use the crest to keep the brace at the right height by a band, or end of crest. I like a 4 inch feather, but what's you opinion 4 or 5 inch is better? and do you put as much helical as the shaft will allow?
I use off set, maybe I should do more helical, it'll slow the arrow down but might give me better flight? opinions?

I have my shafts stained and now that the rains have stopped I might dip those...correction, I will dip those today, then start cresting, so I need to check what feathers I have. I might need to make a trip the the archery shop.
My favorite colors are red and black, but white or yellow might be the ticket this time.

Oh did I tell you the straightener works fantastic !!!! :rolf: yeeehaaa :dance:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby TradRag » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:24 pm

I started off years ago with the 4" offset and slowly went to the dark-side using 5" and heavy helical. I like the quicker recovery of the 5" but on my sons I use 4" with heavy helical and they fly awesome, as he will tell you. :mrgreen: I say try the 4" helical first and see how you like it. The bows I shoot typically don't mind the extra inch of drag...they are plenty fast. Even at 715 grains. :archer2:
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Re: Arrow Building (my steps for making cedar arrows)

Postby J.james » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:28 pm

Those arrows are beutiful. :archer:
Much more visually appealing then any carbon arrow.
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